One of our favorite dishes to order at a Thai restaurant is yellow curry with tofu. It’s one of those menu items that you can always count on to be “accidentally vegan.” Plus, no matter what type of food I’m craving at the time, yellow curry always seems to hit the spot. It’s flavorful, packed with veggies, and laced with a staple plant-based protein: tofu!
Well, friends, we’re delighted to share that you can now make your own vegan yellow curry with tofu at home!
This recipe is one of our most popular from our cookbook, The Friendly Vegan Cookbook, and gives all the comfort of dining out at a Thai restaurant from the comfort of home. Serve it up over freshly cooked white or brown rice, and your family will be raving about this delightful vegan dinner for days.
This recipe calls for onions, bell peppers, carrots, and broccoli, which are all typical of a classic yellow curry. But don’t let this stunt your creativity! If you have other veggies on hand—especially anything that may soon go bad—feel free to add them in.
Some Veggies That Would Work Well:
This recipe calls for two cans of full-fat coconut milk, which is quite key to the dish.
Note that coconut milk from a can is very different from coconut milk you’ll find in the refrigerator isle made for drinking. That won’t work here. You need that super-creamy thick coconut milk to create a curry that will match the decadence of the yellow curry dishes you’d find at an authentic Thai restaurant.
If you open the can and find that solid white coconut fat has separates from a clear liquid-y water, that’s okay. Scoop and pour the entire thing into the pot.
The star of the show is yellow curry paste. You can find yellow curry paste at most grocery stores in the ethnic section—just double check the ingredients to make sure there is no shrimp or shellfish. This is the one I use most often.
Yellow curry paste ingredients can vary, but the one I use is made with shallots, garlic, lime juice, galangal, salt, red chilli, turmeric, coriander, fennel, cumin, cinnamon, and clove. As you can imagine, making this mixture yourself is possible but can be quite a hassle, so getting a pre-made paste makes it easy.
While you probably don’t think of yellow curry as a particularly sweet dish, this little bit of sugar brings out the flavors and enhances the richness of the curry. You can use light brown sugar or dark brown sugar—either will work! If you don’t have any brown sugar, you can use white granulated sugar instead.
I love Yukon Gold potatoes the best in this recipe, but you can use whatever potatoes you have on hand! If you’re on a tight budget, russet potatoes are usually the least expensive, and they will work just fine. Red potatoes are also great in this dish! Or if you have little fingerling potatoes, you can toss them in without even having to cut them up.
We use Extra Firm tofu, and my favorite to use in this recipe is the kind you find in a vacuum-sealed bag because it’s the most firm, and won’t fall apart in the curry. But if you prefer a softer tofu, you can go for the variety stored in a tub of water, or try firm tofu. Avoid using soft tofu or silken tofu in this recipe, as it will disintegrate in the curry.
In The Friendly Vegan Cookbook we’ve included a “My Tips” section of each recipe, where you can take notes on what you’d add to the recipe to make it your own.
This vegan yellow curry with tofu recipe is from The Friendly Vegan Cookbook by Michelle Cehn (founder of World of Vegan) and Toni Okamoto (Founder of Plant-Based on a Budget). Photos by Zhoro Apostolov, published with permission from BenBella Books, all rights reserved. Please note that this article contains affiliate links.